Kentucky Derby pedigree profile: Chase the Chaos

February 13th, 2023

It can be tricky to analyze horses who win Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifiers over synthetic racing surfaces. Success on synthetic doesn’t always translate to dominance on dirt, an important fact to remember since the Kentucky Derby (G1) takes place on dirt.

So what do we make of Chase the Chaos, who unleashed a giant homestretch rally to win the El Camino Real Derby over the synthetic Tapeta track at Golden Gate Fields? Winning the 1 1/8-mile Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier put Chase the Chaos in the picture as a Kentucky Derby contender, but can he reproduce his fine synthetic form on dirt?

That’s a good question. Chase the Chaos is a son of Astern, an Australian-bred sprinter who scored his signature victory in the Golden Rose (G1) dashing 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs) on turf. Astern’s progeny have largely followed suit as turf stars, with Golden Mile winning the Caulfield Guineas (G1) and names like Aft Cabin and Seradess nabbing multiple graded grass stakes.

But before we write off Chase the Chaos as unlikely to shine on dirt, let’s dig a little deeper into his pedigree. Astern is a son of Medaglia d’Oro, who won multiple Grade 1 stakes and more than $5 million during an accomplished career on dirt. Turf horses aren’t uncommon among Medaglia d’Oro’s progeny; he’s the sire of Hong Kong superstar Golden Sixty plus Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Talismanic. But his stud record is also packed with elite dirt horses like 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, two-time champion filly Songbird, and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Plum Pretty.

The bottom half of Chase the Chaos’s pedigree is also noteworthy for its dirt influences. His dam is Live the Moment, who returned to training after Chase the Chaos was born to win a maiden claimer on dirt at Charles Town. And Live the Moment is a daughter of Uncle Mo, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and a successful sire who counts Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and Belmont (G1) hero Mo Donegal among the many Grade 1-winning dirt routers he has sired.

Uncle Mo is also developing a promising record as a broodmare sire. In addition to Chase the Chaos, his daughters have foaled Instant Coffee and Major General, both victorious in Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifiers.

We’ve saved one other noteworthy stat for last: Chase the Chaos actually debuted on dirt in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Canterbury Park, where he rallied from seventh place to finish second over a distance shorter than his best. Coupling this encouraging performance with his deceptively dirt-oriented pedigree, there’s a good chance Chase the Chaos will handle dirt just fine if his connections aim for the Kentucky Derby.

The bigger question about a son of Astern might be his ability to get 1 1/4 miles. But this hasn't been a problem for many horses by Medaglia d'Oro, and though Astern's distaff pedigree is mostly filled with Australian sprinters, there is some stamina. Astern's three-quarter sister Mamounia (by Medaglia d'Oro) is a Listed winner over 1 1/2 miles, while his fourth dam is the outstanding racemare Triscay, a five-time Group 1 winner up to 1 1/2 miles.